Anthropocene

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“Anthropocene” is a series of interconnected installations to explore ideas relating to technology, data and geology, in connection to over consumption and waste which, as a result of polluting the environment threatens our survival.

The Anthropocene is a term used to denote the epoch that begins when human activities started to have a significant global impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems. Jussi Parikka suggests that:

“Geology is the science which investigates the successive changes that have taken place in the organic and inorganic kingdom of nature. It enquires into the causes of these changes, and the influence, which they have exerted in modifying the surface and external structure of the planet. (Parikka 2015)”

The Anthropocene epoch has derived primarily from the application of scientific discoveries in the form of new technological advances and larger material requirements, to fuel the growth of consumer society. Far from being intangible digital technology has also impacted upon our environment due to its high valuable metals and chemical requirements not to mention the fossil fuels needed to power needed to produce build and run this post modern society. The explosion of the Internet, search engines and social media, increasingly force the development of technologies such as micro processors, smart phones and digital devices. Their rapid development as a result, lead to obsolescence, driven not only by consumer demand but psychological and planned obsolescence.

“Anthropocene names the moment at which expanding global capitalism, with its increasingly destructive side effect of pollution, de-forestation, and immiseration, reaches a threshold of self-destruction, but also of self deception. (Clark 2015)”

Obsolescence has become a part of this where self-deception in materialistic culture of modern consumers thrives on the desire for new and more expansive technology. Commercial production has fed this desire for new, by shorting the life cycle or lifetime of the product through a psychological obsolescence.

Digital products have a presence within our environment in the form of data, media or interaction. Data flows constantly around us in the era of wireless Internet and GPS, not only from technology but the geological and natural forms. Parikka argues in relation to geology:

“Our relations with earth are mediated through technologies and techniques of visualization, sonification, calculation, mapping, prediction, simulation and so forth. It is through and in media, that we grasp earth as an object for cognitive, practical and affective relations. (Parikka 2015)”

From Parikka’s understanding we seek to mediate or discover more about the earth through the use of systems and technologies, in order to improve survival, a primary human instinct. Many scientific discoveries in connection with geology come as a result or a need to discover or explore an idea or concept further than ever before. This creates knew knowledge and ideas presented to society in the form of data. This data is not only a technological form of media but also a geological interpretation of the earth as a medium. Controlled and deciphered by the earth itself, as a form of media to which technology seeks to interpret.

 The Installations

The installations themselves have two distinct purposes within the immersive nature of the work: “Fragmented-Anthropocene” Tree, Jar, Mask is designed to provide a post-humanist dialogue on the potential effects of continued geological destruction and the increases in harmful gasses such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen dioxide, being produced as a result of unconstrained industrial development and human activityconstantly add to the ozone layer building within our atmosphere?. Moreover the destruction of large areas of trees cleansing the atmosphere the balance of natural resource has reached the edge of its capabilities. The mask connected to the jar is designed to signify the relationship between humanity’s survival and the importance of the environment within this.

“Mediated Anthropocene”. Floor projections provide the audience with an immersive physical encounter in which a surreal and fast moving data flow pass across them and their perceived environment. Projection plays a key role in communicating the interconnection of the tangible and digital by the use of augmentation, in terms of bringing the digital and data environment together. This acts as a reminder of that which is outside of the normal spectrum of human sensory perception.

Each element within the installation has a range meanings and purposes connected to one another. The rubber chipping covering the ground highlights the waste and disused material scattered across the geological landscape, discarded as a result of human consumption and un-resourceful use of the precious material the earth provides. The tree highlights the importance of care to the planet and the geological form and resources that are being affected by human’s irresponsible and damaging behaviour like air pollution and waste.

The digital technologies used have specific functions within the integrated system being displayed. Via data, technology is the mode in which we try to understand the effects which human’s interact with the earth. This is something which cannot be seen by the human eye and which we would not be able to understand without the use of data and simulation technology. Projections are playing the role of mediation and visualisation of the data to the audiences through the form of light displays.

Clark, T., 2015. Ecocriticism on the edge. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Parikka, J., 2015. A geology of media. Minneapolis [u.a.]: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

For more information go to: http://ashleywilkie.co.uk/anthropocene.html

Hand in Files

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In preparation for the hand of the graduate project on the 2nd June in I have produced a final test of both installation. The Exhibition is the 16th June meaning there is lots of preparation time for setting up the installations within the space for the show. As prof that the installations are complete and ready, these videos and images show them working in a test conditions. Both installations are part of a single immersive installation where visuals and audio is designed to immerse the audience within a digital experience engaging a range of senses.

Tree Jar

Tree Jar is a projection installation mapped upon a Jar, background and ventilation mask, displaying real world data flows across the surfaces.

 

 

 

Floor Projection

Floor Projections is the immersive larger projection mapped floor. Real world data visualisation are projected upon a rubber chipping floor surface and designed for an audience to pass across the textured tactile surface.

 

Graphics

Graphics for both pieces have been developed and build using Processing through live data flows from uk and global data reading of pollution, gas, electric, fuel consumption and geological data . This video below is a combination of all the elements which will be used within the installations. Some of the visual elements will be rendered out prior to the exhibition however some will be played using Processing, Resolume and syphon because of the large nature of the data source . This was selected as an option because the changeable data and great variation it provides.

 

Sound

Sound is a key part in the immersive installation and the sense of sound is vital to creating a environmental dissipation or re interpretation. The sound has been designed specifically to combine both installation together in a unified piece. The use off digital manipulated sound clips was composed into a shot looping clip which will be played throughout the exhibition.

 

Products

This is some images of the final products which have been made for the installations.

  • Tree in Jar – Using a 5l Jar and a topsi tree I place a miniature fake tree into a large glass jar.
  • Jar connector – Hat piece for the jar with the tree inside to connect with the mask tube.
  • Mask Stand – To hold the mask as part of the installation.

Final Tutor Discussion

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Coming into the final weeks of the project many aspects of the project have been tested and developed through a series of different mock designs. Throughout the project I have discussed many of the ideas with David Garcia, my support lecture where a process of critic has been used do develop a consistent and free flowing artistic piece.

In my final discussion with David some issues arose with the installations proposed in my previous post due to some minor aspects. The point which was raised linking to the key concepts and maintaining theses throughout both pieces. It was suggested that some aspects of the development have been leading away from the idea of the jar, containment and fragility of the earth. The manikin was a part which was added as it provided an interesting surface to project upon however was another addition what was not consistent of the themes being discussed in the installation. Returning the mask to a similar state as the floor projecting by leaving it to the audience as a point of possible interaction, further linked the 2 installations together through the ability to perceive, respond and interact tacitly.

After some recent testing the use of a background screen has been introduced as the producing images for the audience to see has been more successful and clearer. This was a result of testing the distance of the projector from the jar that found the further the distance the weaker the image become. To account for this in this unknown in the exhibition using a background provides a more stable and assured surface to project upon.

3D Visualization

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In preparation for the exhibition I have been considering the logistics of setting up the exhibition and way in which the desired installations should be set up organised.

Data Flows

Tree of Life

Test, Test, Test!

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Coming into the final 2 weeks of development and preparation for the submission on June 2nd, the final ideas are coming together at last after a long period of development. I believe the ideas which have been developed have are really conceptually sturong but visually powerful meaning they will interest and provoke a reaction from audiences. Testing, trailing and re-testing is the best way to put the idea forward into its final form.

I have been testing different graphics and animations upon the jar & mask part of the installation to see if some simple animations could add an interesting visual element. First I have just tested the projections upon the jar alone in the videos below.

Acetate

During previous testing it was found that the best solution to project within the jar was to use acetate to achieve an image which was clear enough to be visible to the audience. By testing different materials, thicknesses and density’s this was distinguished. It is possible to use the outside of the jar as shown above to project onto however, the image quality is reduced and depends on the brightness of the content. I tested the acetate with the new content images to see the effect it had.

Comparison

Comparing the two against each other gave me the opportunity the see the difference which was made by the acetate. The difference is not so clear from the videos as the camera struggles to receive the light correctly from the projector however, the difference was clear to see from a visual perspective.

Data Projection Graphics

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The graphics for the data projections as part of my graduate project have been developed and produced through the use of data sheets and live data feeds.

The style in which has been chosen to present the information is distinguished by the material that is intended to be projected upon. Through testing it was proven that the best response in terms of visual graphics upon the black rubber uneven surface was white 2d imagery because of it reflection spread across each individual piece. Colours were a problem as depth in images causes parts to be unseen and difficult to distinguish meaning keeping the imagery simple resulted in a more visually visible type and motion .

At this point there is 5 different data sources contribution to the data flow all coming from different data forms:

  • UK Fuel Prices (CVS)
  • UK gas consumption (CVS)
  • UK electric consumption CVS)
  • London location air pollution levels (JSON)
  • Global Systemic data (XML)

In this video each sketch has been screen captured however within the exhibition a syphon server will be used within some of the data flows to live generate the graphics. This throws some problems as within this video a technique within after effects has been used to remove the background from the Processing sketches. However, when running them live they will have a black background meaning a work around will have to found to remove this when live.

These graphics will be fed into a projection mapping software that then will be mapped upon the necessary surfaces. I hope to be able to use to use a a network syphon to send the graphics to a Raspberry Pi via a local network as discussed in a previous post.

Projecting on Mask

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As part of my Graduate project i’m planning on displaying 2 works at the graduate show. Working for an extended time on lots of different ideas, concepts, techniques and mediums, has therefore produced a range of different but interconnected installations that could have been developed. Synthesizing these down it has become clear that two strong ideas still deliver powerful and precise contextual meaning through an extraordinary artistic expression. The pieces interlink so much so that its understood they could be displayed as a pair of mixed media installation linking to one another.

The Jar of life installation is one side of the project I have been working on in several form recently exploring projection onto jars through different materials attempting to defract the light effectively. As can be seen from previous video several attempts have been made in creating a holographic tree within a jar, however the results were not satisfactory and the older alternative method of projection onto the jar will be used.

I have recently re introduced the mask into the installation as without it the message and impact upon the audience perception was felt to be far less. Some ideas were discussed surrounding turing this piece into a performative piece but this was not possible for logistical reasons. The manikin head adds a surface that can be projection onto also add an element of the surreal nature of the installation distorting the audience perception once again.

Mankin Jar

 

Passing of Data (Projection mapping)

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As the project i’m working on hold a contextual meaning relating to the issues of data, environment and the transition of them regarding humans impact on nature. A method of passing data through a wireless network where data is transmitted through nature to one another is an interesting conceptual idea which can be introduced.

Having worked with Raspberry Pi before a new and innovative method of passing data through a WIFI network have been discovered. TCPSyphon is a development of the tool Syphon that is used with the Mac OS to pass data between programs. This has now been extended to networks and therefore WIFI network. Using this in the project would have many advantages as connections to the projector would be wireless meaning the computer could be stored far away from the installation and less cabling would need to be run.

I have run a small test to check the viability of this and its effectiveness compared to regular cabled projection softwares.

Projection Holograms

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How best to achieve the effect seen in Davy and Kristin McGuire Hologram Fairies is becoming clearer through more and more testing. I have found a material inside the jar which defract the light enough is sufficient to create the effect of a hologram. Currently i have only tested a textures plastic sheet however i believe a less creased and sturdy acetate sheet could work better .

Secondly projecting from the underside of the jar adds to the visual effect of not knowing where the light source is coming form. This is being doing using a mirror and projector to the side. I think by using a shorter throw projector could solve the problem of focus.

Scale Up Testing

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Today I scaled up the testing of the data flowing over rubber surface. By moving the projector back further and adding more rubber to the surface and area of around 2 x 1.5 m was tested to good effect. Scaling up brought some issues like focus of the projector but ton the uneven surface this is lost.

I believe for the final installation an area around 2.5 x 2.5 m will be sufficient to achieve the effect desired. Testing element lying within the landscape was also interesting and these provided a narrative or points for the audience to explore and investigate.